About 100 people rallied Monday outside the Milwaukee County Courthouse, 901 N. 9th St., to protest the Opportunity Schools and Partnership Program (OSPP), which they say amounts to a takeover of the Milwaukee Public Schools.
The rally was organized by Schools and Communities United, a coalition of community, labor, religious, student and civic organizations.
“We see the MPS takeover plan as an attack on our communities’ fundamental democratic rights by removing public institutions from the control of democratically elected boards,” said Ingrid Walker-Henry, Schools and Communities United co-chair, in a statement.
OSPP was created in June 2015 when the state legislature passed a law charging Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele with appointing a commissioner who has the authority to transfer MPS schools from district control. Demond Means, the Mequon-Thiensville School District superintendent, was appointed commissioner of OSPP.
Under the legislation, the commissioner must identify failing MPS schools and recommend between one and three in the first two years for transfer to charter or private school operators. Means has said he would not transfer schools to third-party operators, instead committing to work with MPS to bring resources to failing schools.
In April, Means presented a proposal to MPS calling for creation of one community school; MPS rejected the proposal last week.
Walker-Henry said that Schools and Communities United “will continue to fight against the implementation of a plan that would drain needed resources from Milwaukee Public School students.”